SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Rev. Harold Simpkins, Jr., 83, of Springfield, passed away April 3, 2014 at 2:53p.m. at Concordia Village in Springfield, Ill.
He was born October 28, 1930, in Matewan, W.Va., the son of Harold Sr. and Dollie (Hamilton) Simpkins. He married Helen Habermann on June 19, 1960 in Steeleville, Ill. He was a United Methodist Minister for 38 years, retiring in 1993.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1954. He continued to study theology at Northwestern Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Divinity. This is where he met his wife. He served the Lord throughout the former Central Illinois Conference of United Methodist Churches and served in the various towns of Vermillion/Clay’s Prairie, San Jose, Manito, Glenarm/New City, Williamsville, Jacksonville, Pekin, Nokomis, Virden and Moweaqua. During his 38 years in the ministry, and before his retirement in 1993, he united six churches (three two-point circuit churches) into three church congregations.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Taylorville and a former member of the Rotary Club. He and his wife, Helen, owned and operated Helen’s Travel Center, Inc., in Taylorville for nearly 25 years, where they enjoyed organizing, traveling and volunteering on mission trips to Alaska, Haiti, Russia, China, Africa, Puerto Rico, Chile and the Caribbean. Harold enjoyed 20 years of taking church youth on camping and canoeing trips throughout the rustic and white water Canadian-boundaries. He enjoyed being outdoors, bird watching, reading, woodworking and activities in the local church and volunteering in mission work.
Those who knew him well, would describe him as a man with a sense of humor, who would offer a friendly “hello” in passing others, and a conversationalist.
He is survived by his wife, Helen Simpkins of Springfield, Ill.; son, Mark (Jael) Simpkins of Eureka, Ill.; daughter, Joy (Jeff) Ferry of Springfield, Ill.; grandchildren: Matthew (Tracy) Simpkins, Michael Simpkins, Katie Simpkins and Sarah Nicole Ferry; great-grandson, Brantley Simpkins; sister, Joan Stewart of Matewan, W.Va.; and several nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Jack Stewart.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at Sutton Memorial Funeral Home in Taylorville, Ill. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 10, 2014, at the First United Methodist Church in Taylorville, Ill. A luncheon will follow at the church.
Memorials can be made to Preacher’s Aid and Benefit Fund (United Methodist Church Conference) 5900 S. Second St., Springfield, IL 62711.